A sense of responsibility to place

In the final chapter of Seeking the Mystery, Christine Hoff Kraemer covers the question of morals, ethics and justice.Her position, that Pagan ethics is based on virtues rather than rules, is one I absolutely support. As she points out, in Northern and Celtic reconstructionist traditions, there is often an emphasis on virtues of strength and honour; in Wicca and Wicca-influenced traditions, the diads of the Charge of the Goddess -- beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and h … [Read more...]

The material, the sacred and the erotic: a contemplation for Lammas

My 2007 homemade Lammas loaf: 100% rye, 100% sourdough

In this week's ponderings provoked by Seeking the Mystery, I'm looking at my sense of place through the lens of the sacredness of materiality, bodies and sexuality.Today is the final day of the feast of Lugh, also known as Lammas or Loaf mass. We bake bread as a sacred act. We eat that bread as a spiritual act and an act of community. We are literally connected to the earth: we chew and ingest and digest the grain; we absorb its nutrients. Without other beings in place with us, we would not … [Read more...]

A Forest Walk

The remains of an old building in Dalkeith Country Park

Last week I took a short, unplanned holiday to Edinburgh. I spent Wednesday in the Old City right next to Waverley Station where my train from Glasgow arrived. I enjoyed a museum visit, an art gallery, and some leisurely book store browsing. In the evening I headed to Dalkeith where I stayed Wednesday and Thursday nights, allowing me to spend Thursday and Friday hiking through the village of Dalkeith and through the forest in Dalkeith Country Park.The three days of walking around with a … [Read more...]

The ordinary, everyday occult knowledge of herbs, flowers and beasts

A bottle of honeysuckle cordial (pink) and a bottle of meadowseet cordial, both made this last weekend.

In the third in my series relating the content of Christine Hoff Kraemer's book on Pagan theologies, Seeking the Mystery, to my own sense of place and spiritual practice, I'm considering 'occult' knowledge, or gnosis.As Christine's writing emphasises, Pagans' knowledge in relation to theology, religious devotion and spiritual practice is largely based in experience, rather than in text. The experience of mystery may come through devotional practice, and from that experience may come … [Read more...]

A Weapons Problem

Two knives.

I love knives. Swords, too, but mostly knives. I love them for their place in religious practice, their role in magickal workings, and their daily mundane uses.For many years I would carry at least one knife all the time. A folding utility knife is good for a million little things, but a solid fixed blade is a godsend when you are out in the wild.When I lived in an Idaho forest for a summer, I used my favourite knife -- an SOG Seal Pup Elite affectionately named "Silly Ol' Grandma" … [Read more...]

People and Place

This way to the Iron Age earth works

Today I have no answers or great stories to tell, just a rambling discursive meditation on the relationship between people and place. Do people make a place the way it is or does a place shape the people who live there?Chicken. Egg. There's really no answer to this question. But when you think of the personality of a place, it has a lot to do with the culture and personality of the people who live there.But the personality of a place shifts over time, in part because of migrations of … [Read more...]

How a valley in Scotland changed my theology

Our favourite walk, c. 2001.

Not long ago, Christine Hoff Kraemer, editor of the Pagan channel here at Patheos.com, published a book about Pagan theologies, or, more accurately, about being a day to day Pagan theologian. It's called Seeking the Mystery, and for the next few weeks, I'll be exploring my sense of place through its insights and suggested activities, one chapter at a time.The first chapter gives a brief but thorough introduction to the language of theology - the "-isms" and belief systems that make up the … [Read more...]


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